Form of Government: Republic
Area: 312 705 sq km
Population: 38 265 013 inhab. (estimate 2021)
Density: 122.37 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 55° - 49° N; long. 14° - 24° E
Capital: Warsaw=Warszawa (capital) 1 794 166 inhab. (2021); Warsaw 3 100 844 inhab. (2016), urban agglomeration
Currency: Polish złoty (100 groszy)
Human development index: 0.88 (rank: 35)
President: Andrzej Duda (PiS), since 6 August 2015, re-elected 12 July 2020
Prime Minister: Mateusz Morawiecki (PiS), since 11 December 2017, re-elected 15 October 2019
National Assembly: seats (July 2021 update): PiS (Law and Justice, conservative populist), 232; PO-Civic Coalition (Civic Platform, liberal), 126; Lewica (The Left), 47; PSL (Polish People’s Party, centrist), 24; Confederation (eurosceptic), 11; others, 19; German minority, 1
Internet: www.stat.gov.pl (Central Statistical Office of Poland)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EU, NATO, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, UN, WTO
International license plate code PL
International dialling code 0048
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .pl
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October
Annual average temperature (°C) Warsaw 8.2
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Warsaw -2.5/18.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Warsaw 8/1
Annual average precipitation (mm) Warsaw 520
Days of rainfall (annual average) Warsaw 93
Politics and current affairs
Relations between Poland and Europe are increasingly strained after recent rulings by the Supreme Court. The first (22 October 2020) tightened abortion rights in case of foetal congenital defects, while the latter verdict (14 July 2021) questioned the authority of the EU Court of Justice in its intervention against the reform of the Polish judicial system. The European Parliament adopted a majority motion (11 March 2021), which defines the EU as a “LGBTIQ Freedom Zone”, in response to several municipalities that have declared themselves as “LGBTIQ-free zones”. Lastly, the recent European Commission report on the state of law (20 July 2021) highlighted deterioration within the country.
Poland is bordered to the north-east by Russia and Lithuania, to the east by Belarus and Ukraine, to the south by Slovakia and the Czech Republic, to the west by Germany and to the north by the Baltic Sea.
Occupying the middle part of the great European plain that extends from the North Sea to the Urals, Poland links the German plain to the Russian plain in a series of alluvial plains and low-lying hills that rise to a significant height only to the south in the Sudetes and the Beskids. Sand spits on the Baltic coast encircle enormous lagoons.
Inland the River Vistula, the longest and most important river in Poland, flows through a wide plain. The climate is continental, with cold winters and hot summers.
After the elimination of democratic and pro-Western elements during World War II, Poland became part of the Communist bloc in 1947. It embraced democracy in 1987 under the impetus of the Solidarity (Solidarność) trade union, which won a landslide victory in the partially-free elections on 4 and 18 June 1989. Since then centre-left and centre-right coalitions alternated in power up until the election of 25 October 2015, which led to the formation of a single-party government. Poland has been a member of NATO since 1999 and on 1 May 2004, it became a member of the European Union.
Under the Constitution approved by referendum on 25 May 1997, the President of the Republic, directly elected for a five-year term, appoints the Prime Minister who must be voted in by the both houses of Parliament. Parliament comprises the Lower House (460 seats) and Senate (100 seats), whose members are elected for four-year terms.
Military service has been voluntary since 2009. In response to tensions with Russia, the government has significantly increased military spending, stepping up military cooperation with the USA.
On 12 June 2019, the US announced the deployment of 1000 soldiers in the country.
The legal system is based on Napoleonic Law, reviewed and brought in line with Western European tradition. Recent reforms by PiS have been contested.
|Warsaw=Warszawa||1 794 166||inhab.||2021|
|Warsaw||3 100 844||inhab.||2016|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2020)|
|Foreigners, total||358 239||units||2020|
The economy was hit by the pandemic and shrank by 2.7% in 2020. The gradual easing of restrictions and the considerable increase in investments in the private sector promises resumed growth in 2021 (+3.5%).
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||113.09||index||2016|
|Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)||102.52||index||2019|
|Active population||16 978 700||units||2020|
|Active population, Females||44.6||%||2020|
|Unemployment rate, Females||46.4||%||2020|
|Expenses||702 959||M LCU||2020|
|Revenues||517 025||M LCU||2020|
|Currency in circulation||321.496||BN LCU||2020|
|International reserves||154 219.192||M US$||2020|
Agriculture employs a significant share of the workforce. The most important crops are cereals (wheat, barley, maize and oats), potatoes, sugar beet, fruit (especially apples) and vegetables.
The main livestock species are pigs, cattle and farmyard animals. The number of horses raised is particularly high, especially draught horses.
|barley||3 311.57||1000 t||2019|
|cereals, total||28 450.92||1000 t||2019|
|potatoes||6 481.62||1000 t||2019|
|roots and tubers, total||6 481.62||1000 t||2019|
|beans, dry||44.611||1000 t||2018|
|beans, green||45.4||1000 t||2019|
|rapeseed||2 268.85||1000 t||2019|
|sugar beet||13 836.62||1000 t||2019|
|flax fibre and tow||1.55||1000 t||2019|
|hemp tow waste||13.96||1000 t||2019|
|apples||3 080.6||1000 t||2019|
|carrots and turnips||22.5||1000 ha||2019|
|beans, dry||20.431||1000 ha||2018|
|beans, green||6.2||1000 ha||2019|
|sugar beet||240.78||1000 ha||2019|
|flax fibre and tow||0.51||1000 ha||2019|
|hemp tow waste||1.83||1000 ha||2019|
|timber||44 084 030||m³||2019|
|cattle||6 261.6||1000 heads||2019|
|cattle and buffaloes||6 261.6||1000 heads||2019|
|pigs||11 215.5||1000 heads||2019|
|equines, total||185.494||1000 heads||2019|
|birds||209 332||1000 heads||2019|
|crustaceans and molluscs||1 059||t||2019|
|freshwater fishes||48 379||t||2019|
The Silesian coalfield is one of the largest in Europe. Rich lignite deposits are located near Bogatynia, Konin and Bełchatów. Other mineral resources include lead and zinc in Silesia, copper, salt, sulfur, silver, magnesite, gypsum and feldspar.
Energy and industry.
Over 80% of electricity generation relies on coal-fired thermal power stations.
The country is crossed by the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline (from Russia). The gas transit agreement with Moscow expired in 2020. To diversify the sources of supply, an interconnector with Lithuania should be completed in 2021, while the construction of the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline, which was supposed to supply the country with Norwegian gas from 2022, has been stopped by Denmark. In Świnoujście there is a regasification terminal. Oil refineries (the main ones at Plock and Gdańsk) work with imported crude oil, especially from Russia, also supplied via the main Druzhba oil pipeline.
In 2019, the government announced new plans to develop the nuclear sector.
The traditional heavy metal industry has been reformed progressively to respond to international competition, to attract foreign investments and to reduce the environmental impact. Some of the most polluting plants have been shut down or modernized. The steel industry is concentrated on the edges of the coalfields, as is metal-working. There are numerous cement works.
Mechanical industry covers a wide range of productions, including tractors, farm machinery, electrical machinery and home appliances. The railway sector is also relevant.
The motor industry, which relies heavily on foreign capital, is located at Warsaw-Żerań, Poznań, Lublin, Tychy, Gliwice and Bielsko-Biala (cars and vans); buses, trucks and engines are also produced. The ship-building industry is in serious crisis.
Chemical works are widepsread throughout the country, while the pharmaceutical industry is concentrated in Warsaw. Rubber-processing plants are also active.
The cotton industry is concentrated around Łódź; alongside the wool industry, the manufacture of synthetic and artificial textile fibres and the flax industry are also relevant. Glass-making is important in Silesia, and porcelain at Ćmielów, Chodzież and Wałbrzych. Other industries include brewing, distilling and tobacco.
|coal||61 900||1000 t||2019|
|coal, total||100 697.3||1000 t||2020|
|gypsum||1 040||1000 t||2019|
|dolomite||3 364||1000 t||2016|
|silver||1 300 000||kg||2020|
|- thermal||129 032.86||M kWh||2019|
|- other renew.||23 206.07||M kWh||2019|
|- thermal||33 266.8||1000 kW||2018|
|- other renew.||8 361||1000 kW||2019|
|total net generation||154 132.35||M kWh||2019|
|total installed capacity||43 034.8||1000 kW||2018|
|watches and clocks||10 900||no.||2015|
|air conditioners||237 000||no.||2018|
|bitumen||1 494||1000 t||2018|
|petrol||4 603||1000 t||2019|
|ammonia||2 200||1000 t||2020|
|caustic soda||63.9||1000 t||2019|
|carpets||11 718||1000 m²||2018|
|cotton fabrics||18.7||M m²||2018|
|footwear||31 200 000||pairs||2019|
|beer of barley||4 148.202||1000 t||2018|
|coconut oil||0.3||1000 t||2014|
|cigarettes||213 000||M units||2019|
|cigars and cigarettes||213 000||M units||2019|
|chemical pulp||938||1000 t||2019|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||1 155||1000 t||2019|
|cement||18 700||1000 t||2019|
|sheet glass||144 000||1000 m²||2019|
|chemicals production||6 581.208||M US$||2018|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||17 040.031||M US$||2018|
The trade balance tends to be in surplus. The main trading partners are the EU countries, followed by the UK, China, Russia and the US. The country mainly imports machinery, electronic and chemical products.
(M US$ - 2017)
vehicles and parts thereof 26 500, machinery and home appliances 25 025, electrical and electronic equipment 17 080, furniture and accessories 12 874, iron and steel 11 347, plastics 10 271, telecommunications equipment 6 890, tyres and rubber articles 5 229, apparel and accessories 5 130, meat 5 090, pharmaceuticals 4 342, timber 4 265, computers and accessories 4 234, technical and electro-medical appliances 4 041
Finance and banking.
The central bank is the Narodowy Bank Polski. The stock exchange is in Warsaw.
|manufactures||79.912||% of goods exports||2019|
|food products||13.302||% of goods exports||2019|
|Germany||73 512||M US$||2020|
|Czechia||15 029||M US$||2020|
|Germany||55 799||M US$||2020|
|China||36 790||M US$||2020|
Tourism. The main destinations are the heritage cities (Warsaw, Cracow) and religious centres (Częstochowa).
Over 40% of tourists come from Germany.
|Expenditures||10 436||M US$||2019|
|Number of arrivals||21 155 000||units||2019|
Media and telecommunication.
A disputed law that provides for the government appointment of public media heads was severely criticized by the EU.
|Civil aviation, km flown||72 900 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||10 225.5||1000 units||2019|
|Broadband subscribers||205.446||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|Computers||169.3||per 1000 pop.||2008|
Social and welfare
Education is free and compulsory from 7 to 15 years (primary and lower secondary). Upper secondary schooling, lasting for 3 or 4 years, covers various subjects and paves the way to higher education.
Social security and health.
The social protection system is financed partly by workers and partly by the state. Free healthcare is provided by the state. The number of private clinics is increasing. In 2016, the government introduced the program 500+, which includes economic incentives for families with two or more children, while in 2019, a retirement plan was approved for mothers of four or more children; it does not have any requisites for accessing one’s pension.
|Expected years of schooling||16.026||years||2018|
|Students, primary level||2 277 483||units||2018|
|Students, secondary level||2 392 353||units||2018|
|Social protection spending||39.973||% of total expenses||2019|
|Social protection spending||21.336||% of GDP||2019|
|Hospital beds||7.4||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|Physicians||2.3||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|HIV||0.1||% of adults||2014|
|Tuberculosis||15$||per 100 000 pop.||2019|
|Museums, visitors||40 217 000||units||2019|
|Research and development spending||1.32||% of GDP||2019|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||100||%||2019|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2019|